If you’re like the millions of Americans setting goals to be
healthier in the New Year, then reshaping your food habits is a great way to
get started. But not all of us can afford to constantly eat organic items or enroll
in specialized diet programs that count your calories for you. If you’re
looking for a fit and frugal 2014,
then read on for ways to change your eating and grocery shopping habits this
If you were going out to lunch every workday in 2013, then
make it your goal in 2014 to brownbag it a few days per week. If your workplace
doesn’t have a refrigerator or microwave then this might complicate matters,
but you could always bring a small cooler or chilled lunch bag and stick to cold
items for lunch in order to save money on eating out all the time. Rather than
going cold turkey (although as a sandwich, this is a delicious option!) on
eating out, consider having a special day (such as Friday) where you buy lunch
and pack a lunch for the rest of the week.
Buying only name-brand foods is a thing of the past. The
taste difference between generic foods and name-brand foods is nearly
nonexistent, though the difference in prices is rather significant. Instead of
grabbing the first familiar box on a shelf, scout around for more affordable
alternatives that grocery stores strategically avoid placing at eye level. Psychologically,
this placement makes you less likely to buy the less expensive options.
Organic produce and meat have several health benefits (lower
pesticide content, fewer hormones, etc.) but just because something is labeled
“organic” doesn’t mean it’s more nutritious and it is often much more costly
than its conventionally grown or raised counterparts. According to the Mother Nature Network, organic items can cost up to 100-190% more
than nonorganic items! This is simply unsustainable for many lower and
middle-income family budgets, so avoid organic food unless you’re truly
concerned about GMOs or pesticide content.
Eat Lunch Like a
…And eat dinner like a pauper, as the old saying goes. Why
is that? The reasoning behind this is that our bodies metabolize food differently depending on the time of day. If we eat our biggest meal
midday while our bodies are actively converting that food into energy rather
than storing it as fat (as it does while we’re asleep, shortly after
dinnertime), then we’re more likely to keep off weight. Many Europeans have
done this for years and although there are multiple factors involved, those
countries experience fewer obesity problems than the U.S.
There must be millions or billions of dollars’ worth of
coupons that go to waste each year. This is fine – some grocery stores would go
out of business if every customer used dozens of coupons every time they
shopped – but if you aren’t using even a few coupons while grocery shopping
now, then 2014 is the year to change your shopping habits. Some people complain
that using coupons is a hassle, but nowadays you don’t even have to clip out
paper coupons from your local newspaper! You can easily find grocery coupons
online through SumoCoupon or download
one of the many couponing apps to your smartphone and simply show the coupon to
the cashier during checkout. Don’t forget to check out Get It Free’s Coupon Section, too!
Store Loyalty Programs
In order to multiply your savings, you may want to join
store loyalty programs. They generally only require your name and phone number
or email address and in return, you receive special, in-store discounts on many
food and drink items. Some grocery stores even allow you to combine member
discounts with coupons, shaving several dollars off your grocery bill each time
you go shopping.
Kelly Kehoe is a staff writer for Money Street Smart and works with SumoCoupon.com, a site full coupons and coupon codes.